The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will introduce a new racing licence system for next season, designed to recognise the commitment of existing teams within the sport.
Despite such strong grids emerging throughout the 2013 season, the maximum of 32 cars were filed but not entirely utilised during the year – the media day entry list not in fact materialising during the 10 meetings that followed.
The series have therefore brought in a licence system called the TOCA BTCC licence (TBL) and a maximum of 30 TBLs will be available for the 2014 season, allocated with reference to the following priotrites:
– Existing teams that have competed in at least 50 per cent of the 2013 BTCC season with Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) machinery will have automatic entry for the same number of cars in 2014, subject to fulfilment of the pre-registration requirements by 30 November
– Existing teams with two or more NGTC cars will have priority for one additional entry subject to validation of the entry by TOCA
– Existing cars
– New entries
Teams successfully issued with a TBL recieve secure entry for a minimum of three seasons, while teams would be able to sell, gift, lease, assign or loan their TBL to other existing squads or eligible new entries on a single-season basis, subject to the approval by TOCA.
Possession of the TBL demands teams and drivers holding them to compete in all events during the season. Teams that miss an event in any season will void their TBL, while a team missing two events will have its entry rescinded for the rest of that year.
Only a single driver change per season for each car is permitted except in the case of force majuere, financial issues not classified under that category. The replacement drivers must have completed 300km of testing in an NGTC car, granted permission otherwise for drivers recognised to have extensive experience in touring cars.
The situation would therefore clamp down on consistent seat-swapping during the season, as was a common occourance during 2013, Tony Gilham‘s Team HARD outfit most commonly having done so with as much as 10 different drivers appearing behind the wheel of their four machines this season.
Grid penalty punishment increases
Elsewhere, the BTCC’s ‘three-strike’ method of punishment has been made even sterner – drivers picking up three punishments now being sent to the rear of the grid for the following race in place of the original six-place grid penalty.
Boost adjustments will continue into 2014 as approved by teams following this season, with levels expected to reduce as the year progresses in a similar fashion to 2013.